Nuclear energy needed to enable Paris Agreement objectives to be met

4 November 2016

Entry into force of the Paris Agreement on 4 November commits governments to keep the increase in average global temperature to well below 2 °C and to pursue efforts to limit this to 1.5 °C. This will require ambitious action across all sectors. A priority should be the decarbonisation of the electricity supply sector, using nuclear energy in harmony with other forms of low carbon generation.

The next steps to achieving these goals will be taken at the COP 22 climate change conference Marrakech that starts on 7 November.

Agneta Rising, Director General , World Nuclear Association said  “COP 22 needs to enable governments to take practical and meaningful progress towards meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement. This should include supporting the contribution nuclear can make to achieving a low carbon global electricity generation mix.”

Today, the world’s 450 nuclear power plants generate enough electricity to avoid the emissions of two and a half billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, compared to the coal-fired baseload generation that nuclear typically displaces. New nuclear plants that have started operation since COP 21 will save more than 70 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

Countries and regions that have decarbonised have done so by including nuclear energy in harmony with other low carbon forms of electricity generation. France, Sweden, Switzerland and Ontario have made major cuts in the use of fossil fuels by using nuclear energy alongside other low carbon options, such as renewables.

The world’s nuclear industry has endorsed a goal of supplying 25% of the world’s electricity with nuclear generation by 2050, a target that will require the construction of 1000 GWe of new nuclear capacity. Currently, nuclear energy supplies around 11% of the world’s electricity needs.

Agneta Rising will participate in a press conference at COP 22 on 17 November, speaking on the role of nuclear energy in achieving global greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Further information is available from the press contacts below.

Media Contacts

Jonathan Cobb: +44(0)20 7451 1536
David Hess: +44(0)20 7451 1543